Google is reportedly selling Boston Dynamics, makers of functional (and creepy) robots

By Shawn Knight ยท 7 replies
Mar 17, 2016
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  1. We've watched Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot grow up before our very eyes over the past few years. But now, like a deadbeat dad, its parent company is saying goodbye.

    Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that executives at Google parent company Alphabet Inc. have come to the conclusion that Boston Dynamics isn't likely to produce a marketable product over the next few years and thus, won't generate any real revenue. As a result, the robotics firm has been put up for sale.

    One of the two unnamed sources said Amazon and the Toyota Research Institute are two possible acquirers.

    The search giant was also well aware of public perception that Boston Dynamics' robotic creations were a bit creepy. Internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg note the excitement from the tech press but adds that they're also starting to see some negative threads about the robots being terrifying / ready to take humans' jobs.

    That's not exactly unfounded. After all, it's hard not to look at Boston Dynamics' BigDog robot and not view it as anything short of incredibly freaky. Just imagine this thing chasing you through the woods at night. No, thanks.

    Boston Dynamics was founded by former MIT and Carnegie Mellon University professor Marc Raibert in 1992 and scooped up by Google in late 2013 for $500 million.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    Somebody send helicopters for shawn, hes trapped in uncanny valley
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I think their robots are cool. Are these paranoid people the same ones that are worried about witchcraft too?
    Reehahs and wastedkill like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +1,995

    Once again, the almighty dollar rules. One of the greatest indicators of this countries downfall of technology is the amount of influence the bean-counters have on true innovation. Imagine just how many discoveries, inventions, and breakthroughs would not have happened here if the bean-counters ran the country the last century. NASA would certainly have been shut down the first year, no computer would have ever seen the light of day, and materials like titanium would never have been realized. The real weakness is at the top. Leaders that don't believe in their own idea's quickly fall by the wayside. Fortunately, this company's advances won't go unnoticed very long. Perhaps the Gates Foundation will step in. Imagine, the next major upgrade to the OS being hand delivered by your own robot ..... wonder if we can teach it how to fetch a beer for me???
    wastedkill likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,738   +3,757

    It's always amusing to read these articles and watch people act as if a business can operate (and therefore create new technology) without a viable product indefinitely.
    wastedkill likes this.
  6. EnTaroTzula

    EnTaroTzula TS Rookie

    Americans and their fear of robots taking their jobs id rather have a robot go in to defuse a bomb than a living person, or go into a building full of terrorists instead of human beings - its being smart in my opinion - not taking your jobs. if anything its creating new jobs because these robo's will need TLC - Maintenance and fixing.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    Robots absolutely can take jobs away. Jobs that require simple and redundant tasks. This means many people who are either just lazy, or don't have the mental capacity to learn beyond what they already know will be out of a job. It is a legitimate fear. This can have a negative effect (if we let it) because people often need to prove their reliability and worth by performing simple jobs before they can be trusted with more important jobs.
  8. TexasGeek

    TexasGeek TS Rookie

    Boston Dynamics is a great company, great tech, but also with tech comes great overhead to be a first mover. A competitor already jettisoned military R&D expense in a similar sell-off with also its great lineup of products like the packbot series. Smart innovation requires NEEDS driven by VALUE of savings (like loss of life - bomb squad) but it can not only masquerade as convenience in other areas where COSTS must be contained to make a profit in business and survive to innovate another day.

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